Call for Entries – Digital Alchemy – Juried Exhibition @ International Quilt Market Houston

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My Warhol hot lichen, on sale at Spoonflower, where I go by wordnerd411

Jane Dunnewold is the creative force behind this first ever exploration of how quilters are using digitally printed fabrics from print on demand companies such as Spoonflower.  Of course Spoonflower is the leading company in this groundbreaking field, and they are co-sponsoring the exhibition.  It will premiere at the 2015 International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston this fall.

Jane has put a link to the pdf of the call for entry here.

Details of size, etc. are all on the pdf.  Worth calling out:

Quilts must be made from at least 50% digitally printed fabric.  It is not a requirement that fabric be designed by the quiltmaker, but the designer must be credited.

The other pertinent rule is no online/social media sharing of work in progress until acceptance and rejection notices have been delivered.

Submissions open March 1 to April 5.

Spoonflower turns orders around fast so even if there’s nothing lurking in your stash of too beautiful to cut, you’ve got time to design and order your own fabric — trust me on this, it’s not hard — or just go shopping for other designers’ fabrics.

Since this is for a quilt show (as opposed to bed quilts) you don’t have to confine yourself to cotton.  Spoonflower can print designs onto silk, jersey and now even Minky (think pushing the envelope with soft fuzzy baby blankets in non traditional colours and designs).  Of course quilts have to be quilted and quilting on Minky might be a bit challenging, but interesting.

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REALLY looking: a serendipitous discovery

river004Michael James could be described as the first extreme quilter.  This book, which was published in 1998, is in many quilters’ libraries.

It just so happened that when I bought it at a Guild retreat, I also bought a basket of goodies which I discovered included a magnifier.  Anxious to see how well it worked I held it over the book cover (not something I would usually do) and was gobsmacked to see that Michael James did not use only solids in his work.  In the older pieces especially there are some pretty tame calicoes that today would likely be relegated to baby quilts or quilt backs, as they’re just not that dynamic.  For example follow the fourth orange stripe from the bottom left and see what it’s joined to when the colour change happens!

CHALLENGE – what do you think?  Is it harder to use colours you don’t like or prints you don’t like?

Making art every day

I subscribed to Lesley Riley’s 52 pick-up, which is a year of weekly creativity prompts to encourage more regular art and creativity.  Feeling accountable to a supportive group of other people is helping me to form better habits.

And every day I succeed in spending time creating, I get a star!

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In real life the stars look better than they do in the photo, which often happens with glitter and metallics.  They’re foiled, a technique I’ve had a lot of fun with for years.  You can get the foils and special glue from Jones Tones.

But, breaking news!  and not good, although definitely a first world problem, Dharma Trading, the go-to source for all things fibre arty, posted that the foil is being discontinued and they (Dharma) are looking for a replacement.  In the month since they posted, the more conventional colours have been snapped up but they still have purple, green and blue.

I fused the square fabric onto the Disco Dots to have a little more body to stand up to the writing and foiling and free motion quilted along the lines.

Creepy before and after

Our new home has a backyard, greatly appreciated after so long in apartmentland.  The enthusiasm may wane when the grass starts to grow and needs to cut, we’ll see.

Only thing is, this is part of the deal …

IMG_0002AT LEAST it’s not facing the house, but it’s firmly settled in the ground and not for us to remove (rental).  Young Sprout did NOT like seeing this from the house, let alone playing near it.

First attempt was to place a garbage bag over the top.  That lasted a few days and then blew off into the bramble bushes.  The middle of the bramble bushes.

IMG_0003This is somewhat of an improvement.  From the house, seen in profile it rather looks as if it’s facing a firing squad, and apparently Young Sprout and Pirate Girl have used their rubber dart guns for target practice, although I’m positive they would not have ever seen a firing squad since they don’t watch a lot of movies.

I used some recycled Indonesian cotton that had been used as packing in an international move and is great for surface design, soy wax resist, etc.

Improvised design wall for lastest baby slab quilt

Okay, okay, it’s my bad, I should have hung up my design wall as soon as I moved in to my new home BUT instead I procrastinated although I was convinced I had all the necessary hardware.

This morning since my design study group is meeting tomorrow I decided I really must do something about the design wall.  Out comes the industrial gray felt with the hanging tabs, out comes my box of hardware, out comes the rubbing alcohol to clean the wall.

The wall is cleaned, the felt is smoothed out all ready to hang.

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OBSTACLE!  what I thought was removable strips for the plastic hooks turns out to be a pack of Velcro removable strips to go directly on the back of a picture frame.  I need the kind with adhesive on both sides to stick to the back of the hooks.

Pause to kick myself (because I did a mega-shop yesterday and could certainly have bought the right product had I realized) and to wonder also why they package three of these Velcro doohickeys when the illustration on the back shows putting two on the back of the picture frame?  Why do I wonder, it’s so they can make everyone buy two packs in order to hang two pictures, and then have two left over.

Don’t let me rant about this way of packaging that forces you to buy more than you need or can use.  Our dustbin lid went missing recently.  New dustbin but will anyone sell you a lid?

Anyway back to the drawing board, er, I mean design wall, and back to a supply I can’t do without, i.e. masking tape!  It’s not pretty but for now it will do.

The two columns on the left are sewn together and the other three columns are still under design.  I’ll let it percolate for a bit and probably move things around.

The colour palette is analagous, which was the design exercise we had set for ourselves at our first meeting.  It was interesting to see what others made of this, because I was the only person to use a neutral in my design.

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It’s good to have feedback from supportive friends who ‘get it’ because originally the bottom corner looked like this (more or less, excuse the masking tape!)  I had focused on the fact that the structure of that block makes it a good corner block, but five fresh sets of eyes noted that the weight/volume is much too light.

After some reverse sewing I was ready to replace the offending block.  Set-in seam strikes fear into my heart, but I found a terrific YouTube tutorial by Kaye Wood which I watched several times and followed, and I’m quite pleased with the result:

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Here’s a close up of the set in corner.  Kaye’s method is very simple.

My only regret is that I got confused and the part which I planned to have on the outside corner isn’t.  However I think with a new to me technique and all the seams it’s better to quit while I’m ahead.  Am I being a wuss, what do you think?  You can tell me, I can take it!

All the tutorials online show how to do y-seams as part of a block like Bright Hopes, Tumbling Blocks or Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  No one has posted a tutorial on “sewing round corners when you need to fix a design flub.”  Hmm, an unmet need.

Bloggers Quilt Festival Fall 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival - AmysCreativeSide.com

It’s that exciting time of the year again!

For those who can’t go to Houston we have the Bloggers Fall Quilt Festival, and here is my entry to the art quilt category …

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This piece evokes the Grand Canyon where you can gaze down at millions of years of rock layers carved by the Colorado River, then up at the big Western sky.

I  made this in late spring using a variety of techniques, creating strata which I pieced like bargello for the rocks at the bottom, which I then ice-dyed (soaked the piece in soda ash solution, then placed it flat on a rack in a large pan, covered it with ice cubes and sprinkled various procion dye powders over the top).

I used a similar ice-dyeing technique for the sky at the top, making several attempts before I was satisfied.

The river is a synthetic fibre.  I made several trial blocks to get the curving effect.

It’s 17 inches wide and 22 inches high, and was my entry into our Guild retreat’s challenge.  Our theme was the Wild, Wild West and really nothing is wilder than the Grand Canyon.

First featured here

with process posts here, and here, here, and here

.. and now I’m off to check out everyone else’s entries!  Yay!

P.S.  For the first time, I’ve entered a second quilt in the festival, in Baby Quilts

The Challenge Piece – 5 : Quick & Painless Piecing

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Does this scream RIVER!!!!

Having found better fabric for the river at the Fabricland in Duncan I decided to make a paper mockup and note my steps, so I don’t paint myself into another corner.  I now have less than a week to do this and other responsibilities still have to be taken care of …

The new fabric is a poly/rayon blend so won’t absorb much dye.  In fact I could try piecing all the strata, piecing in the river and then ice dyeing.  But I want to be happy with the results so I probably will piece the river in afterwards and perhaps try ice dyeing a small offcut of the river fabric just to see what happens.  I bought half a metre and it’s 54″ wide so will go far.  I can see this may be one of those fabrics that I will later wish I had more of.  Oh well.

In this photo the green is the stand in for blue river and blue sky, as I had no blue paper to hand and wanted to get on with this project.

Of course the piece will be trimmed and the fabric I’ve earmarked for sky is not the same as the river fabric.photo(18)I made the strata by making striped paper using E-Z Tints scrapbooking daubers.  They’re not pens, they look like bingo daubers, and I’ve only seen them in scrapbooking stores.  I think mine are actually discontinued.  Then then cut the paper into vertical strips and pasted them slightly offset onto another sheet of sketchbook paper (65 pound).  Then I cut that apart to insert the river.  The bend in the river is important to me.